The Rio 2016 Paralympics have begun. Channel 4 will be broadcasting live coverage in the UK every day until Sunday 18th September.
Paralympic coverage will be available on Channel 4, More4 and on demand streaming service All4. BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will also be broadcasting live from Rio.
Check out the day-by-day highlights for each sport, the GB stars to watch and the top events for each day of competition.
Day 2: Friday 9th September
HIGHLIGHTS Jonnie Peacock gets top billing tonight: the T44 100m gold winner from London 2012 should be in action in the final (11.53pm). And Ireland’s Jason Smyth aims to defend his T13 100m title (3.04pm).
WATCH THIS: LONG JUMP German Markus Rehm’s Olympic bid failed after he was unable to prove his prosthetic leg didn’t give him an advantage. GB’s Stef Reid (F44 long jump, 2.45pm), is unequivocal: “Blades are not magic.”
STAR TO WATCH Brazilian Terezinha Guilhermina had a special “guide” at an event last year: one Usain Bolt. The reigning T11 100m and 200m champion will hope to defend her 100m title tonight (10.50pm).
Day 3: Saturday 10th September
HIGHLIGHTS Hannah Cockroft races for the first of three possible medals today in the T34 100m final (10.06pm). She could well have GB company, with Carly Tait and Kare Adenegan also in contention.
The C4/5 500m (9.54pm) should feature cyclist Sarah Storey in her second medal event, while GB’s basketball team will have to upset the locals in their men’s group match against Brazil (1.30am).
STAR TO WATCH Former Royal Engineers Staff Sergeant Micky Yule (above) watched the 2012 Paralympics from his hospital bed. The 37-year-old had his legs blown up by an IED while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. “Sport gives you a reason to get out of bed,” he says. He’ll be competing in the -65kg powerlifting division (8pm).
WATCH THIS: MEN’S PARATRIATHLON, 2PM A new sport for 2016, and the perfect follow-up to the Brownlee brothers’ success. Like other events, the sport is split into different classifications with different requirements: wheelchair athletes use a handcycle for the cycling section, for example, while amputee athletes use prosthetics. But everyone races the same distance: 750m swim, 20km bike ride followed by a 5km run. The women go tomorrow.
Day 4: Sunday 11th September
HIGHLIGHTS Visually impaired cyclist Neil Fachie (above, back) won gold in London 2012, but now has a new tandem partner, Pete Mitchell. They’re hot favourites for the B kilo (3.34pm).
Five-time Paralympian swimmer Steph Millward was reclassified following a medical review this year, so will now compete in the more seriously impaired S8 100m freestyle tonight (11.42pm).
STAR TO WATCH Most athletes are slowing up by the time they reach 40. Not Richard Whitehead (who’s in action at 11.32pm) who smashed his own T42 200m world record in July. The double amputee is peaking at the right time.
WATCH THIS: WHEELCHAIR TENNIS, 3PM A well-established Paralympic sport, wheelchair tennis is played at all four grand slams as well as at the Paralympics. The only difference to Olympic tennis is that the ball is allowed to bounce twice. GB has reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Gordon Reid in its ranks.
Day 5: Monday 12 September
HIGHLIGHTS Arguably the best-known British Paralympian, Ellie Simmonds (right) is back for a third Games — and she’s still only 21. She is expected to race in the SM6 200m individual medley tonight (11.48pm).
In track and field events, Welsh shot putter Aled Davies (left) throws in the F42 classification (2.58pm). And quadruple 2012 gold medallist David Weir begins his campaign with the T54 400m (2.12pm).
STAR TO WATCH Ellie Simmonds won’t have it all her own way in the pool. Ellie Robinson, who like Simmonds has a form of dwarfism, was inspired to race after watching her now-teammate compete in 2012. She’s still only 15, but will line up opposite Simmonds in the S6 category in Rio.
WATCH THIS: BOCCIA A sport unique to the Paralympics, boccia (from 3pm) has its roots in Ancient Greece, although it wasn’t until the 1970s that it was adapted as a disability sport. Similar to bowls, competitors aim to throw leather balls as close to a white target as possible. Look for Brazilian Dirceu Pinto, who has won gold in every Games he has competed in.
Day 6: Tuesday 13 September
HIGHLIGHTS The Weirwolf rides again: David Weir takes to the track for the second of his five events, the T54 1500m (10.21pm).
Also on the track, Georgie Hermitage is the current world record holder in the T37 400m (2.15pm). “She’s had a complex relationship with the Paralympics, but is such an inspiration,” says C4 commentator Rob Walker.
STAR TO WATCH In 2004, Brazilian Jovane Guissone was shot during a robbery. The bullet pierced his spine, and left him without the movement of his legs. Four years later, he took up fencing (from 1pm), and in 2012 qualified for the Paralympics in London. Now he has a chance to compete at a home Games.
WATCH THIS: SWIMMING, FROM 1.30PM In S11, the most severe classification for visual impairment, swimmers wear blacked-out goggles to ensure a level playing eld. They can use a “tapper”, who warns the swimmer when they near the wall.
Day 7: Wednesday 14 September
HIGHLIGHTS Hannah Cockroft races again in the women’s T34 400m (9.59pm). GB rival Kare Adenegan became the first person to end Cockroft’s seven-year winning streak, making for what could be a fascinating encounter.
The road cycling time trial sees Sarah Storey race in her third event (from 12.16pm), while the sport of canoeing makes its Paralympic debut. But this will be the sixth Games for GB canoeist Jeanette Chippington who goes in the K1 200m KL1 at 1pm; she used to be a swimmer.
STAR TO WATCH Alex Zanardi (below) finally had his fairy-tale ending in London 2012. The Italian former F1 driver, who lost both his legs in a crash in 2001, won gold in the road cycling time trial (from 12 noon) at Brands Hatch, the former British F1 circuit, capping a remarkable comeback. And he’s back again in Rio — at the sprightly age of 49.
WATCH THIS: WHEELCHAIR RUGBY, 2.30PM Wheelchair rugby, aka “Murderball”, is the standout spectacle of the Games. “It blows everything you think you know about disability out the water,” says former GB captain Steve Brown. Get a taste below.
Day 8: Thursday 15 September
HIGHLIGHTS A day full of GB medal hopes: the wheelchair tennis reaches its climax (from 4pm): Richard Whitehead hopes to line up in the men’s T42 100m final (10.35pm); Ellie Simmonds is in action in the SB6 100m breaststroke (from 1.52pm); and Anne Dunham, at 67 the oldest GB Paralympian, goes in the Individual Equestrian Grade 1a (from 6pm).
STAR TO WATCH Switzerland’s Marcel Hug will be right on David Weir’s wheel in the T54 800m final (4.02pm). GB fans will hope he stays there…
WATCH THIS: PARACANOEING Paracanoeing makes its debut this year. The canoe sprint events are raced over a 200m course, in the same venue that held the rowing and canoe sprint events during the Olympics. Former GB sitting volleyball player Emma Wiggs could be going for gold at 1.16pm — she made the switch to the water after competing in London 2012.
Day 9: Friday 16 September
HIGHLIGHTS With medals up for grabs in 12 different sports, this is one of the busiest days of the Games. Expect a battle in the pool between GB’s Steph Millward and Steph Slater in the S8 50m freestyle (10.03pm). Slater has nerve damage in her left arm and Millward has MS, showing that athletes with different impairments can go head-to-head.
GB face Brazil in wheelchair rugby (4.45pm), Hannah Cockroft races the T34 800m (10.12pm), and the table tennis tournaments reach their climax (from 4pm).
STAR TO WATCH Lee Pearson aims to add to his ten gold medals in the Freestyle Grade 1b Equestrian (5pm). Even as a six-year-old, the charismatic rider with arthrogryposis was stealing the limelight: in 1980 he was presented with a bravery award and met Margaret Thatcher — who insisted on carrying him up the stairs. He’s now the most decorated Paralympic equestrian.
WATCH THIS: WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL Wheelchair basketball (from 1.30pm) has featured at every Paralympics since the first in 1960, but it looks very different today. Wheelchairs have angled wheels to aid tight turning, specially designed seats to lower the centre of gravity, and they weigh as little as 8.5kg.
Day 10: Saturday 17 September
HIGHLIGHTS It’s the final day of competition in the Olympic Stadium: 19-year-old Nathan Maguire will make his Paralympic debut alongside David Weir, Richard Chiassaro and Mickey Bushell in the T53/4 4x400m wheelchair race (9.48pm).
The T35 200m world record is held by the incredible 15-year-old Australian Isis Holt, making her Paralympic debut alongside fellow teen cerebral palsy athlete Maria Lyle, of Team GB (final 3.25pm).
German long jumper Markus Rehm, who lost his bid to compete in the Rio Olympics, competes in the F44 long jump (from 9.30pm). And Ellie Simmonds goes in her final event, the S6 100m freestyle (9.36pm).
STAR TO WATCH Born in Russia with spina bifida, US wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden spent six years in an orphanage before a chance meeting led to her being adopted and moving to the US; now she’s one of Team USA’s best-known Paralympic athletes. This year, she’s aiming to win every distance from the 100m to the marathon. Today she goes in the T54 800m (9.42pm).
WATCH THIS: 5-A-SDE FOOTBALL, FROM 6PM In 5-a-side “blind” football, players wear blindfolds and play with a football containing bells inside. The goalkeeper is the only sighted player, but teams are also directed by a coach, and a guide, who taps the goalposts to help his players navigate.
Day 11: Sunday 18 September
HIGHLIGHTS All eyes will be on David Weir, in his final ever Paralympic appearance: the T54 marathon (4.30pm). Rival Marcel Hug beat him in the Boston Marathon this year and then again in London, just six days later. The wheelchair rugby also comes to a crunching climax (from 1pm), and there’s the sitting volleyball final (see below).
STAR TO WATCH Wheelchair rugby was invented in Canada, but they have never won a Paralympic gold medal. However, they are currently number one in the world. Miranda Biletski, the only woman on the Canadian team, was in hospital rehabilitating following a diving accident when she saw the documentary Murderball, focusing on the rivalry between Canada and the US. She was hooked.
WATCH THIS: SITTING VOLLEYBALL, FROM 1.30PM GB may not have a team in Rio this year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tune in to this afternoon’s medal matches. “It’s a very inclusive game,” says Martine Wright, captain of GB’s team in London 2012. “You don’t need a wheelchair, you don’t need lots of fancy equipment. All you need is a ball, lots of enthusiasm — and your bottom!”
CLOSING CEREMONY 10pm Channel 4